The Palestinian Authority is a fig leaf for Israeli apartheid – disband it

Tom Suarez

Mondoweiss  /  February 28, 2023

At this point in history, the Palestinian Authority serves only to empower the two-state ruse until Zionism has achieved its singular, century-old goal: a race state in all of historic Palestine.

Three decades ago, the Palestinian Authority, advertised as a five-year interim body that would give way to a sovereign government of a Palestinian state, was born from the Oslo Accords.[1] Billed as a “generous offer,” Oslo was the opposite: it implicitly legitimized Israel’s cumulative crimes while throwing the Palestinians a carrot held at what would forever be an increasingly long arm’s length — the PA being the cumulative carrot.

This was no aberration, but the continuation of the West’s active complicity in Zionism’s goal, dating back more than a century, of erasing the Palestinians. In a British Cabinet paper marked “secret” from 1921, Winston Churchill, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, stated that “in the interests of the Zionist policy, all elective institutions [in Palestine] have so far been refused to the Arabs”—that is, Britain had turned Palestine into a “democracy” for the settlers, and an apartheid state for the indigenous Palestinians.[2]

And so the apartheid and displacement (which are all that Palestinians alive today have ever known ) continues, and it is assisted by the Palestinian Authority — a make-believe “government” that serves at the pleasure of Israel.

Israel follows the playbook of previous colonizing powers, in which members of the colonized are seduced with wealth and privilege to serve as a local client leadership, both to answer to their masters’ needs and to stymie indigenous resistance. Indeed, the PA goes a step further: it has made the captive Palestinian public dependent upon it financially, to ensure their compliance.

The PA was in truth a Trojan Horse, a veritable coup for Israel in the following ways:

1.The PA handed Israel the rhetorical gymnastics it uses to claim it is not an apartheid state.

Non-Jews the West Bank can’t vote in Israel’s elections, and are subject to a separate set of laws — but Israel claims this is not apartheid, and it has an alibi: non-Jews vote for their own government, the Palestinian Authority. In truth, Israel controls the entire land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The Palestinian Authority has no authority, except to control Palestinians on Israel’s behalf — it is, otherwise, little more than department name plaques affixed to doors on a compound in Ramallah. On this point alone, the PA should disband: deprive Israel of its apartheid fig-leaf.

 2. The PA enables Israel’s sponsor states to continue to utter the time-buying phrase “two-state solution”.

Already in January 1949, a New York Times correspondent declared the two-state solution dead due to Israeli aggression.[3] She was correct. Today, the two-state mantra is invoked to stymy any reckoning until Israel has achieved Zionism’s singular, century-old goal: a race state in all of historic Palestine. Disband the PA to deprive Israel’s sponsor states of the ruse.

 3. The PA is an economic boon for Israel, at the expense of the Palestinians.

International aid to the PA is in truth further money for Israel, since it is actually paying for its own “occupation” (annexation) of the land — above and beyond the stealing of the land’s taxes, its natural resources, revenue from its tourist destinations, and controlling its imports and exports. Disband the PA to deprive Israel of cover for its massive ongoing theft of Palestinian wealth.

 4. The PA is the outsourced thug keeping Israel’s hands clean in the public eye.

The PA violently represses Palestinian political freedom in the West Bank on behalf of Israel, saving Israel from the trouble and the bad press of doing it themselves. Disband the PA to make Israel do its own repression in its own name.

 5. The PA saves Israel from the day-to-day chore of civil management and policing.

Disband the PA to make Israel responsible for the land it controls.

There have never been Palestinian elections as understood in our nominal democracies in the West. The much-touted elections of 2006 were ruled fair by international observers such as a Jimmy Carter, but this only concerned procedure.

To begin with, the choice offered the Palestinians was ultimately controlled by Israel. Young people who showed promise as future leaders — that is, teenagers resisting IDF incursions — were routinely jailed or shot dead in nocturnal Israeli raids on refugee camps. Candidates not to Israel’s liking were either captured and imprisoned (e.g., Marwan Barghouti), or assassinated.

Secondly, the election itself was a fraud. When the Palestinians didn’t elect who we wanted them to elect (Fatah), we waged war to prevent the winner (Hamas) from assuming power, ultimately confining it to the Gaza Strip and stripping it of representation and its own funds. Unelected Fatah remains in the West Bank, and President Mahmoud Abbas has held on to power years past his term because he’s our man in Ramallah (the presidency was not part of the 2006 election).

The US was shocked at Hamas’ win. But they should not have been: Palestinians were sufficiently fed up with Fatah’s corruption and its failure to defend them against Israel, that they were willing to give Hamas a chance, despite its social conservatism. In the aftermath, Condoleezza Rice, then U.S. Secretary of State, lamented that “they” should not have “allowed” Palestinians the option of Hamas.[4]

Whether Israel was truly shocked, or popped champagne corks, Hamas’ win has served it well. It fully fractured the PA, and provided Israel with a handy bogeyman, the mere invocation of whose name is sufficient to silence unfriendly questions.

Abbas and Co. have a good thing going, and would lose it all if they stopped doing Israel’s bidding — hence the now-familiar ritualistic theatre of the PA bringing claims to the International Court of Justice in the pretense of defending the Palestinians, and then rescinding the claim under the charade of Israeli “assurances”; or the PA submitting a resolution to the United Nations condemning Israeli settlement building, then withdrawing the resolution at the orders of the US. In well-worn political choreography, the PA top echelon betray the Palestinians in order to safeguard their cushy gig.

To be sure, there are many people in the Fatah PA whose intentions are sincere, and simply judge that Palestinian aspirations may better be served with the PA, warts and all, than without it. “Well, at least we’re here in Palestine now,” one veteran of the Palestine Liberation Organization told me several years ago. “Before, we were in Tunisia” — a reference to the years between 1982 and 1991, when the PLO was exiled there from Lebanon following the 1982 Lebanon War.

It’s time to deprive Israel and its cheerleaders of their grand fig-leaf. Retire the Palestinian Authority to leave Israeli apartheid no nook in which to hide.


[1] The Palestinian Authority was formed in 1994 as a result of the Gaza–Jericho Agreement between the PLO and Israel.

[2] The (UK) National Archives (Kew), CAB 95/14. Quoted from Suárez, Palestine Hijacked, p 42.

[3] Anne O’Hare McCormick, “Israel Alters Levant Balance in Molding of a New Nation, NYT, January 10, 1949.

[4] “Condoleezza Rice: The Full Transcript“.

Thomas Suárez is a London-based historical researcher as well as a professional Juilliard-trained violinist and composer